Going the extra Mile-y

Clare Beck

Swimmers and coaches went the extra mile to log in to a special on-line question and answer session with Commonwealth and Olympic swimming star Hannah Miley.

Hannah has been competing in top level swimming since 2006. With Commonwealth, European and World Championship titles to her name, there’s not a lot she doesn’t know about swimming, and the whole club was excited for the chance to hear about her knowledge and experiences first hand.

Swimmers were asked to submit their questions in advance and they poured in from all levels of the club. With over 90 swimmers participating, the Q&A was split across two sessions, with the younger squads going first.

The sessions covered a wide range of topics including training, competing, nutrition, motivation and personal highlights. Hannah was also asked about her other interests and hobbies, with many people wanting to know how Hannah was keeping herself fit and motivated during the lockdown. She reflected that this was the longest period of time she had been out of the water since learning to swim at the age of three. Like everyone, she has been doing all she can to retain her fitness and keep her spirits up, with cycling, running and walking her puppy (who made a personal appearance in the first session).

Throughout lockdown, the club’s head coach Shirley Reford has been using the time to educate swimmers on different aspects of the sport that the usual intensive training regime doesn’t always allow for. Zoom seminars have been delivered on racing tactics, good nutrition and developing mental strength. Hannah echoed all the points Shirley has made and it was great for the swimmers to hear it from someone at the top of their sport. Hannah was also impressed with the programme of classes the club was delivering via zoom to help the swimmers maintain their fitness and motivation.

What came across clearly in both sessions was her love for her sport (you need to love it to train 35+ hours a week at 13 years old) and the simple joy that swimming brings to her life – but that there are no shortcuts to success. We each need to chose to commit to our sport every day, be consistent in our training and do all of the right things. Keep experimenting until you find what works for you, and take positives from even the worst of training sessions. Most importantly: be kind to yourself.

Swimmers, coaches and parents alike loved the session and were motivated and inspired, not only by the chance to speak to Hannah, but the many useful pieces of advice she gave. Club captains Molly Cannon and Kian McNelis summed up the general feeling by commenting, “All of us were honoured and over the moon to have such a fantastic opportunity to speak with one of the biggest names in British swimming. We’ve learned so much, and she was so friendly and encouraging. We’re so grateful to Gordon McArthur and Beeks Financial Cloud for their sponsorship which helped make this happen.”

Thanks for taking the time to speak with us Hannah and we wish you all the best when you are able to return to swimming and competing. Please come back and speak to us again soon.

Right – who’s made that delicious cereal bar recipe she shared and can you deliver?...



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